“I am very sceptical of the burden we will have to carry”: PIC chair

Chair of the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) Shahinda Ismail has said she is “very sceptical of the burden” the institution will have to carry following the publication last week of the Commission of National Inquiry’s (CNI) findings.

The comments were made after Minister of Home Affairs Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed yesterday said that the PIC would be tasked with investigating breaches of police conduct outlined in the CNI’s findings.

Of primary concern to Shahinda was the CNI’s lack of clarity regarding the cases the PIC was to investigate, as well as loopholes within the Police Act which made it difficult to implement PIC recommendations.

“After the CNI, it’s quite confusing when they have so vaguely blanketed the actions of the police. It would have been clearer to name specific incidents or policemen,” she said

Shahinda has questioned the ability of the PIC to follow through with this mandate after having had almost no contact with, or instruction from, the now-disbanded CNI.

“I was surprised at the dismantling of the CNI. There surely must be further questions from many people,” she said.

“After the Human Rights Commission (HRCM) completed their investigations, they sent a letter to us [to guide our work]. We would like something similar from the CNI,” she said.

Shahinda revealed that, throughout both versions of the CNI, the PIC had only had one meeting and received one letter from the commission.

The meeting involved mainly introductions and talk of future co-operation, whilst the letter from the CNI to the PIC asked only when its investigations into the events of February would be completed, she explained.

Referring to the CNI’s recommendations that the PIC, amongst other institutions, needed to be strengthened, Shahinda responded:

“My question would be – while I don’t claim the PIC is perfect – what information are they working with? Throughout their investigations, they showed no interest. There was no inquiry about specific incidents. To my knowledge, no one was summoned.”

Shahinda explained that the PIC was already investigating a number of incidents relating to February 7 and 8, making the lack of contact doubly confusing.

“They knew we were already investigating specific incidents – that’s what we do,” she said.

Shahinda also outlined what she saw as the weaknesses within the police act that, in certain cases, had allowed the Home Minister the option of ignoring PIC recommendations.

Article 44 of the Police Act states that any parties handed recommendations by the PIC can choose not to act on them if they inform the commission of the decision in writing.

“He is not really bound by the act,” said Shahinda, before alleging that this clause had already resulted in the Home Minister ignoring recommendations forwarded to him.

The PIC chair gave the example of a case involving police officer Ali Ahmed, whom she said had been adjudged unfit to continue to serve by the commission.  Shahinda claimed the case had been forwarded to the Home Minister.

“I know for a fact he is still a policeman and was promoted after this incident” she said.

“It is really upsetting – a huge concern – for me that the police leadership is showing a trend where unlawful officers are acting with impunity. This can only lead to further violence,” added Shahinda.

Dr Jameel was not responding to calls at the time of press.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has recently expressed his belief that around 300 members of the security services were “undermining the public interest of the entire country”.

Following the findings of the CNI’s report, which concluded that Nasheed was not removed from power in a coup, he called for legal action to be taken against implicated officers.

Nasheed’s representative on the commission Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed resigned the day before the report was published, citing – amongst other things – withheld evidence and non-examination of crucial witnesses.

The report’s findings have been welcomed by the United States, India, and the United Nations as well as the Commonwealth, although the MDP has said it will lobby for the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to reconsider.


9 thoughts on ““I am very sceptical of the burden we will have to carry”: PIC chair”

  1. Criminals will continue to protect their boys. Let's hope the PG has the guts to do something different. And frankly even PIC is a failure, too much time has passed with no action against the police brutality. There is no perfect law or institution, and delaying the delivery of justice because of weaknesses in the law is not an excuse.

  2. This is purely media spin.

    It was never the CNI's mandate to investigate specific incidents of police misconduct. Shahinda's lack of experience and overall greenness is displayed by her statements.

    The CNI's sole mandate was to establish whether the power transfer on 7th February 2012 was legal or not. They have done so and provided general recommendations for the Maldives to move forward.

    The next step will be for politicians to engage in dialogue to strengthen key institutions such as the Police Integrity Commission. We all know for a fact that these institutions have lain dormant for the first few years of our democratic experiment.

    If we are to ensure that the Executive will be checked and balanced by these fledgling institutions then we must strengthen the legal framework within which they work. Shahindha has helpfully pointed out the PIC's lack of teeth. This situation can only be remedied through Parliament.

    Also several others have observed the lackluster appointments to the PIC. Shahindha being chief among the persons of poor standing. A diploma in marketing does not qualify you to question the mandate and work of a body including an experienced judge from one of the most respected legal jurisdictions in the world and assisted by persons of note from other jurisdictions of high regard.

    What we do not need at this point are politically-biased statements from politicized individuals. We need sincere commitment from appointees to work with all stakeholders in efforts to strengthen our democratic system.

    The PIC needs to investigate incidents of police misconduct without demanding others to do their work for them. All things considered the PIC can only reach this level of efficiency with wide-ranging reforms to its structure and resource-base. Let us hope that our political leadership will be able to deliver this time around.

    Also I support DRP's call to remove political influence over the institution of police. This influence was abused in the Qayyoom administration and to an alarming level during Nasheed's 3-year term. Also Nasheed as the biggest guilty party needs to stay silent and face the charges against him with humility. He would also do well to apologize even once for the horrible injustices suffered due to his mismanagement and disregard for the rule of law and due process.

  3. Seriously shahindha? How many more months do you require to investigate the barbaric acts of police on 6, 7, 8 of February? Why don't you just lay it out there and admit that you are being ruled and manipulated by the majority of PIC and you have no control or say on any decisions concluded by the commission? Why don't you for once stand up without pouting and fight for justice?

  4. If any of the organizations r even a wee bit responsible or honest, proper action should have been implemented as we all know what happened on 6, 7th and 8th.. If CONI says there was no mutiny, den fine,,,,lets say we accept that the leaders of our country are born cheaters.

    having said so, still we saw what happened,,,for god sake we were there.. saw with our damn eyes... the issue is not just controlling mass gathering by brute force..its a country's defense force attacking their responsibilities. i am right now open to the point where if a foreign army takes over this country, what guarantee do we have that our country's only defense will not side with them?

    police integrity commission exists only by a name. so that paper work can b stamped and accusations can be made an excuse. baagee ey buneema hajamu nukurevigen... ehendhoa kiyanee?? guess what! you can reduce our voice to the level where ur ears cant hear. but deep inside, we all know, we all can call u baagees...and the reason why..u can never stop that, u can never get that respect back. today u r just a civil F* servant..and that is the relationship u can expect from us

  5. @tsk tsk

    What legal novice are you to say Nasheed " is the guilty party" too early to deliver the verdict, since you are neither a court nor someone with any semblance of integrity.

    Two lies do not make a truth. Thus, multiple lies repeated over do not make reality. It's always a claim. Will remain a claim. Truth is so obvious

  6. The nation is counting upon you, Shahindha. Now's the time to prove that justice exists.

  7. Shahinda is right, It would be almost impossible to carry an investigation into the police brutality against the people on the 6, 7, and 8 Feb and there after. The will of the authority to do this will not be there and it will be suicide for them to carry such an investigation.
    The CNI report is biased, not clear, it is just blank sentence with no meaning at all.

  8. It is not possible to see this being difficult for PIC.
    Similar to the CoNI report, and like Selvam did, it will be tailor made and presented via an Ipad!

    Take out a print, sign, then call the official peon of the "not a coup" "Baaghee Riyaz".

    He will personally pick it deliver to people concerned! So clean and easy!

  9. Singapore in lawyer aku genaiyoa!! E ee India, Thamalha eh!!

    Singapore akee Maumoon gein badhige ah dhaa hen dhaa thaneh. (Singapore is a place Maumoon goes as if he is going to his kitchen, from his living room).

    There wouldn't be anybody whom Maumoon cannot buy in Singapore. There is Koli Ali Manik to help him too. He has been living there for ages.


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